A Glimpse of Heaven in Vladimir

As always in life, the best moments are unplanned. On the way to see the lovely Russian church shown in a previous post, we stopped with our guide in Vladimir. We stepped into the medieval Assumption Cathedral, perhaps around noon, by happenstance toward the end of Liturgy. Long candles were the only illumination inside the stone edifice, which was plain white on the outside, but ornate with gilding, paintings and icons in the cool, mostly dark interior. We walked amid the standing congregation but stayed respectfully toward the rear. The female-heavy choir filled the air with sweet and exalted chants. Congregants lit the votive candles. Amid the flickering paintings and gilding, in the candlelit darkness, the effect was overpowering, so ancient but eternally alive. At the end of the Eucharist, the Father proclaimed something, perhaps forgiveness. And how forcefully so!

Scripture says: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Indeed. What a promise.

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